Glass Guide
N to R

This section contains definitions for the terms used in glass making and in the description of glassware. There are links to other sections to help expand upon and provide illustrations of the terms used.

This section is not as comprehensive as the source texts that are available and these should be consulted for further details. References are shown in bold and links are in blue.

Happy reading.

Sa - Sj Sk - Sz T U - V W - Z
Skruf Glasbruk. Founded in 1897 in Sweden, and after a shaky start (it went bankrupt in 1908) the glass house successfully specialised in tableware until WWII. In the 1950's modernist art glass production began. This was under the direction of Edenfalk. Internal air trapped glass was produced. Glass was decorated with applied, primitive glass figures. Another designer, Hellsten, arrived and introduced highly idiosyncratic blown forms. He left in 1972. After various changes and alliances Skruff was bought by Kosta Boda who closed the factory in 1980. Normally that would be that, but as before, it survived via a cooperative which was set up in 1981 by the inhabitants of the local town, Lessebo. It continues to produce attractive glass.

slump. A hot glass shape is placed over a former and gravity causes the glass to sag in a shape characteristic of the former.

soda glass. Glass which contains sodium carbonate. It remains maleable at lower temperatures than either lead or potasium (potash) carbonate glass.

Soli fleur, Soliflore. French for a vase designed to support a single flower. A berluze form has a long neck and bulbous base.

sommerso. Term for heavily cased glass. It means 'submerged' and refers to the act of dipping a gather for an encasing layer.

Sowerby. Every type of glass has its archetypal producer. Undoubtedly Sowerby represents the premier producer for Victorian pressed glass. John G. Sowerby had a history in glass production when he founded the Ellison Glassworks at Gateshead in England in 1852. Sowerby is a little under rated as a designer, perhaps because the output was designed for the mass market. A range of colours were introduced including Flint (clear), Opal (opalescent), Turquoise (as described), Malachite (marbled a variety of coloured mixtures), Blanc de Lait (white) and Ivory Queens Ware (creamware). The latter can be found in very finely pressed forms and represents the pinnacle of its pressed glass production. Influences of Walter Crane are apparent in the Nursery Rhyme series taking themes from books illustrated by Walter Crane and his brother Thomas, a close friend of Sowerby. Basket weave patterns were produced, which appear as they sound but cover not just basket forms but also plates. Aesthetic patterns were produced as well as Peloton glass and Nugget glass, a single colour metal containing large lumps of coloured inclusions. Lesser known is the art glass production consisting of free blown glass in Roman, Egyptian and Venetian styles. This was produced at a time (1870-1888) when new stylistic movements appeared rejecting Victorian over ornamentation. Dresser has been associated with Sowerby production although there is no definitive evidence of a link. It is more likely to be due to the influences of glass produced by Salviati which was sold in London and was very popular at this time. This glass is rare. Also rare is production from the the Gateshead Art Pottery, known to be on the same site as the Ellison Glassworks. Between the 1850’s and 1890 the works was highly succesful but cheaper competition became a problem and production declined toward the end of that century. The factory was reinvigorated in the 1920’s producing secondary carnival glass and Art Deco designs. These included figurines, bowls with frogs or squirrels. Cloud glass and trinkets sets proved succesful. In 1956 the company went into receivership but was bought out by Suntex. They continued decorative glass production with ribbed and stepped clear coloured glass bowls. By 1972 domestic glass production ceased to allow the works to focus on commercial safety glass. It is worth noting Nazeing acquired Sowerby’s moulds. See mark.

spatter glass. Essentially glass containing coloured flecks usually produced on a marver.

sputtering. An electrical method of finely coating a surface. Used to give a silvered glass finish but also for producing electro-optical devices.

stained glass. Glass is coloured by adding pigments to its surface, sometimes by brushing. These are then heated to fuse the colour into the body. Rarely used outside Bohemia for decorative glass. Also used generically to refer to large planar fragments of glass assembled using ribbons of lead typically to produce windows.

Steinschönau, Staatsfachschule. Based in Kamenick Senov in Bohemia. A trade School for glassmakers and designers. Pieces can be superb but tend to be rare.

Stennett Wilson, Ronald. Worked for Wuidart partly as a designer but most famous for founding Kings Lynn Glass in the UK in 1967. Later bought by Wedgwood and then sold to Caithness. Famous for the Sherringham candlestick range in which a candleholder is separated from its base by a series of discs placed horizontally above the other separated by a short stem.

Steuben. Frederick Carder left Stevens and Williams for the US and with Thomas Hawkes founded Steuben Glass Works, in Steuben County at Corning in 1903. His range of production at Steuben is breathtaking. He began with a gold iridescent glass, Gold Aurene. This heavy thick iridescent glass was developed in a range of colours, blue, green, red... These occasionally were decorated with forms such as trails, peacock feathers, trailing vines, chains and leaves. Verre de Soie was a gentler form of iridescence where Stannous Chloride was sprayed on the piece 'at the fire'. Cyprian was the same glass with an applied blue trail. Other styles include calcite (1915) although initially for light fittings this was extended to smaller decorative items. In the 1920’s uneven shaped bowls with semi-angular forms reminiscent of handkerchief vases in clear coloured glass called Grotesque. Inclusions were used to produce Moss Agate glass, Silverina and Cintra. The latter was produced by rolling the parison in powdered glass and then heavily casing this in clear glass. This technique was used to produce glass with a variety of decoration including vertical stripes and perhaps most stunningly a clear on clear perfume like bottle with trapped colours, the outer layer massively cut. These owe something to the work of Marinot. He also produced bubbles trapped in coloured with graduated glass, a little like Schneider and especially like Nazeing glass. Carder was fascinated by Venetian glass and developed a number of variations on traditional venetian designs. He experimented with millefiori but these pieces made in the late 1920’s are exceptionally rare. He also introduced cameo, these pieces are highly stylised. However these were never a commercial success. In 1918 Steuben had been acquired by Corning Glass, falling sales and the general economic environment resulted in a management change. Carder was moved aside, although retained, and Walter Teague took over in 1932. Clear brilliant crystal followed with superb cutting. This served the luxury market very successfully. Sidney Waugh’s designs of the 1930’s were the archetypal Art Deco forms. The 1940’s saw international artists being commissioned to produce designs these included Cocteau, Dali, Leger, Gill, Matisse and O’Keeffe. The company has concentrated on clear crystal through the 1950’s to the present day. Many specialist artists and designers were hired to produce one off or limited edition designs. They have produced tableware, bowls and vases, all well designed. Some pieces are reproduced, for example Noguchi’s line drawing of a cat. Animals form a large part of their current larger scale production repertoire. See mark.

Stevens and Williams. One of the big three glassworks in Stourbridge (Stuart and Webb being the other two), a vast range of production, frequently glass is misattributed to S & W and the genuine items are frequently unmarked. Started out as a glassworks in Stourbridge at Briar Lea Hill in 1819. Initially called Silvers, Mills and Stevens the factory became Stevens and Williams after Silver's two son-in-laws took over. Innovation came to the factory in the shape of Frederick Carder (appointed as a designer in 1880) and John Northwood (appointed as artistic director in 1882). Between these two great artists in glass Stevens and Williams creativity blossomed. Cameo dominated production in the 1880's, not surprising given Northwood's famous Portland Vase. Threading and trailed glass was very fashionable during this period and designs flowed out from Northwood and Carder. The most famous patterns during this period include Rose du Barry, opaque ivory glass, a copy of Burmese glass; Verre de Soie, air trapped to produce decorative effects with an acid etched silky surface; Moss Agate (see imitation stoneware); Alexandrite, amber bodied glass blending with other colours applied as bands melted into the body, unlike others of the same form it can be found carved into cameo forms; Dolce Relievo, ivory / white glass, cased by a strongly contrasting colour which is etched to reveal a raised cameo pattern, in addition to Mat-Su-No-Ke, a trailed glass fibrillose. A form of reversed cameo was developed where clear cased coloured glass was cut through with Art Nouveau designs, masterfully executed by Joshua Hodgetts (1857-1933). Stunning Rock crystal was produced although the best pieces are well recorded some production remains difficult to attribute. Erard designed Tapestry glass, exquisite and rare, where finely threaded trailed glass was over painted. A genuinely unique form, a rare event in the decorative arts. Northwood I died in 1902 and Carder left for the US in 1902. Production and innovation continued. John Northwood II introduced Silveria in 1900. Opalescent straw coloured glass typical of many factories was expertly handled. Alabaster glass was introduced in 1914 and is a strongly collected area. This was matt translucent glass with a soft finish in pastel colours. It continued in production into the 1920's. Rarest are two colour pieces. Fleurissant glass, surface iridescent crimped glass often used with metal frames, was introduced in 1915 and in 1916 Vitrolux an acid surface finish on clear glass sometimes with patriotic red, white and blue stripes. A few years after WWI Carleon was introduced, it had a rough surface iridescent effect in imitation of archaeological finds of Roman glass. The 1930's saw the introduction of Tortoiseshell, Arboresque (a surface treatment of trailed 'uncontrolled' colours, typically jade and rose). Acid etched glass, engraved glass both in large decorative pieces and tableware were a staple and reliable revenue source. Like Stuart, S & W introduced enamelled glass and this carried on into the 1930's and used Stinton (Royal Worcester) and Capewell. In 1931 Stevens and Williams changed its name to Royal Brierly Crystal. Keith Murray was employed in 1932 and designed until 1940, designs were modern but surprisingly sold poorly. Gordon Russell designed a range of wrythen tableware. After WWII cut crystal dominated output. Modern styles dominated, Meanley, Jones, Myles and Whitworth all designed innovative forms and decoration, and even Graal was produced. Traditional styles were re-introduced but times were changing. In 2000 after 224 years of trading, tough market conditions resulted in the firm going into receivership. Despite attempts to resurrect the company the outlook appeared gloomy. However survival of Royal Brierley followed the 21st century pattern, the clever combination of heritage trail, retail outlet and glassworks all combined together with specialist glass production employing highly skilled craftsman from the original works saved the company and it continues in production today. It is now based in Tipton Road, Dudley. See mark.

stipple engraving. Typically a diamond pointed tool is repeatedly used to inflict pointiliste marks on a glass surface. In this manner differing degrees of shading and opacity can be constructed. Very subtle images can be built up in this manner.

Stourbridge. Area of West Midlands famous for its glass production in the mid 19th to mid 20th century.

Stourbridge Glass Co. Glass company in the West Midlands. Employed Jack Lloyd. Became Tudor Crystal in 1972.

strain fractures. see anneal.

Strathearn. see Vasart and Stuart.

stress fractures. see anneal.

stretch glass. An iridescence finish on a glass surface that is broken up to give the appearance of cracks. Typically seen with sprayed metal oxides. Although it is a term that has developed in the US it is seen on European glass. In Europe WMF, Maastricht, Leerdam and others have used this style. In the US Northwood, Imperial and Fenton produced fine examples. It is worth noting Fenton still produce it.

Stronie Glassworks. Polish glassworks known to produce cut glass.

Strömbergshyttan. Gerda and Edvard Stromberg established their own glassworks in 1933 on the site of an existing works, Lindefors Glassworks in Småland, Sweden. Gerda designed glass with very clean lines or with very simple geometric cuts. Very rigid forms pre-dominated. Eric, her son died in 1960 and Eric's widow Asta ran the factory until 1976. Gunnar Nylund, Rune Strand and Anders Solfors were amongst the designers during this period. However in 1973 the factory was destroyed and though it partially recovered it was bought out by Orrefors and eventually shut down in 1979. But now it is producing some art glass.

Stuart. One of the big three glassworks in Stourbridge (Stevens and Williams and Webb being the other two), the range of production is probably the least well known. A factory was established at the Red House Glassworks and it was famously the site that Philip Pargeter produced the blank for John Northwood's Portland vase. Frederick Stuart established his works here in 1885 and continued cameo production. Lead crystal was also produced here, a range Stuart would continue with for the rest of its years of operation. Stuart coupled cameo glass as plaques in clear lead crystal (patented 1887). The crystal was cut and the cameo which was 2 layer, typically red on pink cut with scenes or floral patterns. This was known as medallion cameo, it is highly sought after and appears on bowls and perfume bottles. From this date the factory production books show glass production is like that of Webb and Stevens and Williams. They specialised in Art Nouveau forms, for example trailed glass vases were blown into moulds interrupting the threads. Trails and teardrop motifs were used by many factories, Stuart followed suit. Arguably the best of these were 'Peacock trails'. These consists of a trail with a decorative form in two shades of green, appearing as Peacock feather eyes. These were also produced in clear on clear, mauve on clear, and chocolate on citron. The pattern continued into the 30's in single colours, amber, green and clear. On the death of Frederick, the Stuart family retained control and Robert Stuart became chief designer. By 1936 the concern had outgrown its original site and moved across the road to a new factory, retaining its interest in the Red House site which it would use in future years as a retail site. Enamel designs by Ludwig Kny and Geoffrey Stuart figured heavily in the 1930's including, Butterflies, Devils, Cockerels and Spiders amongst others. Engraved forms followed the modernist movement. Stick like figures formed by sweeps of cutting give pieces incredible movement. Tableware with stepped rings was introduced (Stratford rings, often appear with design registrations). Stuart cutting is extremely well executed and a range of top artists designed for them including, Vanessa Bell, Dame Laura Knight, Paul Nash, Ernest Proctor, Eric Ravilious, Graham Sutherland, Gordon and Moira Forsythe. Jack Lloyd certainly produced cut designs on Stuart glass. In the late 1940's John Luxton introduced a number of successful modern designs. The 1950's saw Stuart follow the designer themes of the age and this continued into the 1970's when traditional patterns were re-introduced. Stuart acquired Strathearn in 1980 and produced red crackle glass on black and gold leaf on black (Iestyn Davies) in addition to acid etched forms. Throughout its history it produced good quality tableware, notably Beaconsfield pattern reintroduced in various forms. In 1995 the Stuart family sold the concern to the Wedgwood Waterford group. Sadly poor management and a lack of vision lead to the closure of the Stourbridge site. Stuart now is essentially a trademark rather than a great glasshouse. See mark.

Stumpf, Touvier, Viollet & Cie. see Pantin.

sulphides. see Pellatt IV (or incristations)

Sussmuth, Richard. Started a decorating studio in Lower Silesia in 1924. Had designs produced by Theresienthal and Vereinigte Laustitzer. Utilised engraved minimalist elongated human figures and animals. His studio was destroyed at the end of the Second World War. Subsequently set-up a factory in West Germany, Sussmuthglas, and modernist designs were continued predominantly with engraved geometric forms. This production continued into the 1960's where financial pressures from cheaper imports lead to the resignation of Richard and the sale of the factory to Zweissel (see Schott). However despite production being enlivened by new designers the factory failed to prove a financial success and closed in 1996.

Swarovski glassworks. Based in Wattens, Austria. Set up in 1960. Cut crystal jewelry & objet d'art. Some strongly post modernist art glass.

Sowerby Art Glass. Free blown glass from the Venetian series (1880)
Sowerby Ivory Queens Ware Candlestick from 1880's.
Stevens and Williams amber and white soft matt glass shell, a precursor of Alabaster. Reg. No. 583165 4th May 1911
A Verre de Soie vase with feathered trails and applied gilding. Almost certainly Steuben.
Modernist Stuart cutting from the 1960's.
Aurene and Calcite vase by Steuben
"Peacock Trails" (Cairngorm), Arts and Crafts styles by Stuart, from the start of the 20th century. Frequently attributed Harrach. Bohemian glass in this style is thinner and has no polished pontil. (There are reference book errors in this area of collecting).
Strombergshyattan Engraved tumbler from the 1970's.
Early 20th century acid etched vase by Frederic Carder for Steuben.